Something I had known in the back of my head for a long time crystallized out today: to wit, writing is in many ways about looking like you know what you're doing. All those little tips about tightening your prose--avoid weasel words, avoid passive voice (where possible), choose the right word, eliminate unnecessary adverbs and adjectives, learn rhetoric, develop a voice, charm the reader, Omit! Needless! Words!--
--they all boil down to confidence. Stripping the scaffolding away from the prose and allowing it to build narrative energy, to pull the reader into the fictional dream.
That feeling you get that you are in very good hands indeed, and the author knows where he's going, and where he's taking you, and all you have to do is relax, engage the brain, and enjoy the ride.
I think it kind of ties into some of my other theories that there are two distinct skillsets in writers--*writing* and *storytelling*--and that they interlock, but that they're overlapping sets rather than one single skill group.
*Writing* is a micro set, and *storytelling* is a macro set. The ideal, of course, is to develop both.
But sometimes it helps to break things down into chunks.
Just thinking out loud.